It started as a journey with my two daughters and son-in-law to see England and Wales and especially to trace the roots of my illustrious grandfather, G. Campbell Morgan, one of the great preachers of the Twentieth Century.
It was only five months ago I was walking down London streets or climbing a hill above Tintern Abbey in Wales or staying in an ancient farmhouse in northern Wales. Was that all a dream or was I really there? \
The farmhouse is shown in the photo above. It was like staying in a museum except for the sheep outside who would often come to the window. The trails down the hill and through the woods to pass the ruins of an old church and its cemetery. Was that all real?
Even being there sometimes felt dreamlike. One morning I remember looking out the window of the cottage and watching the sun peer through the abbey windows as it rose over the hill. Was that a dream, too?
Like the English poet Wordsworth who wrote that often in the noise and crowds of London he would recall walking on the same trail above Tintern Abbey and feeling a great sense of calm. I know that feeling and it is still real, centuries removed from him and months away from the journey to England and Wales.
Sometimes dreams are the real stuff of life, emotion recollected in tranquility (Wordsworth’s words to describe poetry). And I am grateful for the memories–pictures, feelings and all. Who knows, perhaps these are also intimations of immortality (again the words of Wordsworth) which permit us to see through the veil of time to a dimension beyond our normal apprehension. And that’s good–what the Celtic tradition calls “thin places,” where if only momentarily we sense something far deeper and closer than we had ever imagined.
(Representation of a forest in the U.K., by my cousin, Jan Richings, a member of the Morgan clan separated for eighty years from the rest of us but reunited with us on our trip.)